Charged with Evading Arrest?
Get Help from a Houston Criminal Defense Attorney
Searching for an attorney for evading arrest? While there are some people who actually run from a police officer attempting a legal arrest or detention, many evading arrest charges are often the results of someone not paying attention or police trying to make an illegal arrest.
The State Must Prove You Knew You Were Being Detained & Intended to Evade
Looking for an attorney for evading arrest? Many people charged with evading were unaware that the police were attempting to detain him or her because they weren't paying attention or thought that the police were after someone else. Therefore, although mistaken, they could not have had the intent to evade an arrest or detention. The government must prove the intent to evade. A mistake isn't enough.
A number of other evading arrest charges result from individuals exercising their right to walk away from a consensual encounter with a police officer.
One confusing aspect of the state of criminal law in Texas is that when the police, prosecutors, and some oriented judges want to use evidence against an accused that came from what appears to be an unlawful search or custodial interrogation, they claim or rule that the suspect was free to leave the encounter. But when a suspect does leave the encounter, they are charged with evading arrest or detention. An encounter with a citizen can't be consensual when it works to the governments advantage and custodial when it doesn't.
Accused of evading arrest in Houston? Contact my firm today for a free consultation and learn how I can help!
Your Arrest or Detention Must be Lawful
The government also has to prove that the arrest or detention was lawful in the first place.
Often, as attorneys, we see these types of situations where individuals are charged with evading arrest or detention and nothing else. This may seem odd, and it probably should, because it begs the question whether they were being lawfully detained in the first place or intended to evade anyone.
In non-motor vehicle cases, the charge often arises when an officer shouts to a group of young minority men standing on a corner in a "high crime area," some of whom then begin to walk away. Or they have a "hunch" about a car driving late at night in a "high crime area."
As a result, some lawyers refer to these cases as "felony speeding" or "walking while black," but it's no laughing matter. It's a very serious accusation for the accused that can impact the rest of their lives.
Whether the officer was lawfully attempting to arrest or detain the accused is frequently an issue in evading arrest cases and may be the subject of a "Motion to Suppress."
Texas Laws: Evading Arrest or Detention
Texas Penal Code Section 38.034 states that a person commits the offense of Evading Arrest or Detention "if he intentionally flees from a person he knows is a peace officer attempting to lawfully arrest or detain him." This crime is a misdemeanor unless the person has a prior conviction under this law or uses a vehicle in flight, in which case it is a felony. The degree of felony depends upon whether the person uses a vehicle, has been convicted of evading arrest before, whether a tire deflation device is used against the officers, whether anyone is injured or dies during the flight, and whether that person was a peace officer.
There is, also, a separate crime in Section 545.421 of the Texas Transportation Code,
"If the person operates a motor vehicle and willfully fails or refuses to bring the vehicle to a stop or flees, or attempts to elude, a pursuing police vehicle when given a visual or audible signal to bring the vehicle to a stop." This crime is a misdemeanor.
According to the above referenced section of the Texas Penal Code, a person may be prosecuted under either or both statutes. However, as a practical matter, persons who are alleged to have fled from the police are charged with the felony offense of evading arrest, commonly referred to as "Evading With A Motor Vehicle."
Call a Houston Criminal Defense Lawyer
Need a lawyer for evading arrest? If you have been charged with evading arrest or detention you need the help of a trusted Houston criminal lawyer to defend you aggressively throughout your legal proceedings. There are steps that should be taken, particularly if a motor vehicle is involved, to identify, locate, and preserve evidence that might otherwise become unavailable and which may be crucial to your defense. My name is Tate Williams, of the Law Offices of Q. Tate Williams, P.C., and I have practiced law for 12 years, including defending many people accused of evading arrest or detention. I am immediately available to discuss your charges with you, and may be able to build a legal defense in your case that result in your charges being reduced or dropped completely.
Get started on your case right away if you have been charged with evading arrest or detention, as even a minor offense can result in receiving stiff penalties.